By Phil Sutton
Kubota Manufacturing of America
Chairman, Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce
Agribusiness in the U.S. is a major competitor in the global market, due to its strong workforce, market size and infrastructure. The agribusiness industry encompasses sub-sectors such as agricultural chemicals, crop production, aquaculture, forestry and logging, livestock and agricultural machinery.
According to the University of Georgia’s Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, Georgia’s agricultural commodities add over $13.76 billion to Georgia’s economy. In addition, as of 2018, food and fiber production accounted for $76 billion of the state’s $1.07 trillion economy.
In Hall County, agricultural commodities produced in 2019 had a value of over $98.4 million. Of the 152 counties in Georgia we are in the Top 25 in blackberries, sweetcorn, tomatoes, agritourism, poultry and egg production; 11th in peach production; 4th in apple production; and, 3rd in acres planted of strawberries. Our most valuable crop is poultry and eggs – $77.5 million in 2019. What impresses me most in terms of agribusiness is the magnitude of our economic contribution to agriculture in the state – Hall County is #1 in our economic contribution to agriculture in the state of Georgia. In 2019 our economic contribution to Georgia in terms of agriculture, food, fiber, horticulture, and other related areas had a total value of over $4.4 billion. Additionally, in 2019 there were 17,643 jobs in Hall County related to agriculture. We are #1 in the state in the number of jobs provided by the agriculture industry. As these statistics show, agribusiness is pivotal to economic growth and is as important to our contemporary society as it was in the past.
Hall County School Superintendent Will Schofield said that the impact of agriculture for our economy is a large reason for the school board’s decision to build a Agriculture Business Center for students to learn more about the profitable world of agriculture. “The Farm” is located on 51 acres along HWY 129 in the North Hall attendance zone, though students from all other high school and middle school programs have access. Students experience hands-on, real-world opportunities, which allows them to develop skills and pursue future occupations in the many career pathways available in Georgia’s agribusiness economy.
We are fortunate to live in a community that embraces its past legacies in agriculture while initiating progressive programs and educational resources to train our youth for agribusiness careers.